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March Newsletter

World Bank Civil Society Engagement Newsletter – March 2008


1. Update on Spring Meetings 2008
2. FEEDBACK SOUGHT: Developing Strategic Priorities for World Bank-Civil Society Engagement
3. Final Report of the IDA 15 Replenishment Process
4. Civil Society Fund Established
5. Gender Equality as Smart Economics
6. Vacancy Announcement: Inspection Panel
7. Bank Announces Two Senior Appointments


1. Update on Spring Meetings 2008 - All CSO representatives interested in participating in the upcoming Spring Meetings must obtain formal accreditation. The on-line accreditation system accepting applications from CSO representatives will close on March 23, 2008. If you have not done so, please apply as soon as possible. The Civil Society Policy Forum during the 2008 Spring Meetings will be held between April 10-13, and will comprise of a series of policy dialogue sessions which will bring together Bank and Fund staff, CSO representatives, government officials, and others. Some of the issues that will be debated will be: World Bank-Civil Society engagement framework, World Bank's strategic framework for addressing climate change, Bank's "Six Strategic Themes", and many other.  Please visit the Forum agenda for more details.

2. FEEDBACK SOUGHT: Developing Strategic Priorities for World Bank-Civil Society Engagement - The World Bank Group (WBG) is in the process of developing a strategic priorities framework for Bank – civil society relations across the institution.  The global Civil Society Team has convened a Bank-wide steering group to provide guidance to this strategic framework process.  The strategic framework process is expected to span from March through July 2008 and involve a two-phased approach. Civil society organizations will be consulted during both phases.  During the first phase they will be consulted broadly about Bank – civil society engagement trends, and during the second phase they will be asked specific input on the draft Paper.  At the first stage of the process, CSOs are encouraged to comment and reply to a number of guiding questions on Bank – civil society engagement.   More

3. Final Report of the IDA 15 Replenishment Process On February 28, the Board of the International Development Association (IDA) discussed the IDA15 report "Fifteenth Replenishment – IDA: The Platform for Achieving Results at the Country Level". Executive Directors welcomed the report and supported the recommendation that the Board of Governors adopt the draft resolution. Following standard procedures, the report was publicly disclosed on March 18. As part of IDA’s efforts to make its replenishment discussions more transparent and inclusive, the draft IDA15 Report was made available for comments from CSOs. Over twenty CSO networks provided comments either directly or jointly with others. Comments were shared with the IDA Deputies and the representatives of borrower countries ahead of the final meeting held in Berlin on December 13-14, 2007.Full Report  Summary of CSO Input

4. Civil Society Fund Established -  The Civil Society Fund (formerly known as the Small Grants Program) is one of the few global programs of the World Bank that directly funds civil society organizations.  It is a concrete tool to aid in the advancement of the Bank’s social development agenda to empower poor and marginalized groups.  The CSF has an annual budget of some $2.5 million dollars and is managed out of approximately 70 Bank Country Offices with upwards of 400 grants being awarded annually.  In FY08 the Civil Society Fund (CSF) will begin to manage a $3 million dollar grants portfolio of the Global Public-Private Partnership (GPP) and Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Youth Investment. More

5. Gender Equality as Smart Economics - A year ago, the World Bank launched a new Gender Action Plan to help unleash the economic potential of women in developing countries. The plan, titled "Gender Equality as Smart Economics," focuses on both making markets work for women and empowering women to compete in markets. Giving women better access to land, labor, agriculture, and financial markets will help raise their productivity and incomes, which will benefit their families and the economy as a whole. Since its inception, the plan has allocated US$14.9 million, roughly a third of its funds, to support gender-related activities in 71 Bank projects.  More

6. Vacancy: Inspection Panel Member - The WB Inspection Panel is inviting applications and nominations for the position of Inspection Panel Member. The Inspection Panel is an independent forum established by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The role of the Panel is to carry out independent investigations into whether the Bank has complied with its policies and procedures. Its function is triggered by a Request for Inspection, normally from people affected by a World Bank financed project. Detailed information is available by logging in the Inspection Panel web site: The closing date for applications is April 21, 2008. More

7. Bank Announces Two Senior Appointments - Bank President Robert B. Zoellick has announced the appointment of Kristalina Georgieva as Vice President and Corporate Secretary, and Hasan Tuluy as Vice President, Human Resources. Georgieva, a Bulgarian national, will head the Corporate Secretariat which serves as interlocutor between the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors and Bank Management. Georgieva joined the Bank in 1993 as an Environmental Economist in the Europe and Central Asia Region.  Tuluy, a Turkish national, joined the Bank in 1987 as an economist in the Africa Region, and is currently Chief Operating Officer of the Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.  More



World Bank and IMF Support Liberia's Decision Point Under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative - The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed on March 18 that Liberia has taken the steps necessary to reach its decision point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Liberia becomes the 33rd country to reach its decision point and now qualifies for debt relief under the Initiative. The Government of Liberia will receive interim debt relief from some creditors, but in order to qualify for irrevocable debt relief at the completion point, Liberia has committed to implementing a broad set of reforms.   More

Community-Based Environmental Management Project in Benin - The Community-Based Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Management Project (CBCBM), approved on February 19, aims to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity of the coastal zone and marine resources, while supporting the livelihood and economic development opportunities of communities living in the project areas.  The project’s activities revolve around four (4) main components, namely: (i) institutional and technical capacity building for integrated coastal zone management; (ii) community-based biodiversity management; (iii) monitoring and evaluation of coastal zones and coastal and marine biodiversity; and (iv) project management and coordination.   More

Europe and Central Asia

World Bank approves Support Project for Internally Displaced People in Azerbaijan - On March 11 The World Bank approved a US$15 million credit to Azerbaijan to improve living conditions, enhance economic opportunities, and increase prospects for social integration for those displaced by the conflict with Armenia which ended in 1994. The additional financing to the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) Economic Development Support Project will support the scaling up of the micro-project component of the ongoing IDPs Economic Development Support Project to meet the needs of an additional 150,000 people living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) communities across Azerbaijan. The Additional Financing will also cover the operational cost of the Social Fund for the Development of Internally Displaced Persons (SFDI), the implementing agency of the Project.  More

Latin America and the Caribbean

Mexico Third Receiver of Migrant Remittances in 2007 - The top five recipients of migrant remittances in 2007 were India ($27 billion), China ($25.7 billion), Mexico ($25 billion), the Philippines ($17 billion), and France ($12.5 billion). While South-South migration nearly equals South-North migration, rich countries are still the main remittances source, led by the U.S, according to the World Bank’s new Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008, released on March 19.  The Mexico–United States corridor is the largest migration corridor in the world, accounting for 10.4 million migrants by 2005. The factbook provides snapshots of statistics on migration, recorded remittances flows, and skilled emigration for 194 countries, and 13 regional and income groups. Data from the factbook have been available on-line since November 2007, with updating done in real time as new data become available.  More

Middle East and North Africa

World Bank Managing Director Discusses with the Arab League Opportunities for Strengthening Development Partnerships in the Arab World - World Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub held meetings with senior officials of the Arab League. Strengthening the World Bank Group engagement in the Arab world is one of six strategic themes that the World Bank President Robert Zoellick announced in late 2007.  Mr. Daboub’s visit to the region marks the launch of further consultations with governments, private sector, and civil society on how the Bank Group can become a more effective development partner in addressing priority challenges and facilitating inclusive and sustainable development in Arab Countries.  More

South Asia

World Bank and Government of India Agree on Action to Stamp Out Health Project Fraud and Corruption - The WB and the Government of India on March 13 announced joint action in response to a Detailed Implementation Review (DIR) that revealed serious indicators of fraud and corruption in five Bank-financed health projects in India. These are now being followed up with detailed investigations for possible criminal action, and sanctions. Agreed joint actions include comprehensive procurement audits and performance reviews by independent third-party agents, strengthened procurement and financial management in the Ministry of Health, increased use of community-monitoring and oversight, and intensified supervision for civil works and equipment, and pharmaceutical procurement. Qualification requirements in World Bank financed bids will also be adapted to reduce the risks of collusion.  Following the review, the Bank has started nine investigations, which could lead to the debarment of firms and individuals from doing business with the Bank, as well as disciplinary action against Bank staff if warranted. The Government of India has announced it will punish anyone found guilty of fraud or corruption.  More


Developing Countries Are Hardest Hit from Climate Change - The poorest people in the world’s poorest countries will suffer the earliest and the most from climate change, according to this year’s edition of the Bank’s annual environmental review, “Environment Matters.” The report says that, due to their geographical location, low incomes, and low institutional capacity, as well as their greater reliance on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, the poorest countries and people are suffering earliest and are poised to suffer most. But adapting to climate change can also serve to meet the development objectives of countries.  More

Guidance for Sustaining Forests in Development Cooperation - The Bank has compiled the “Forests Sourcebook: Practical Guidance for Sustaining Forests in Development Cooperation.” It is designed to be a resource for countries, staff of the Bank, government and development agencies and other stakeholders in the design and implementation of activities in the forest sector, including investment projects, development policy lending, coordination between sectors, and analytical services. It also aims to give guidance on the Bank's stringent policies that relate to forestry work.  More

South-Based Companies Play Increasing Role in Developing Country Growth - Foreign direct investment (FDI) originating in developing countries and destined for other developing countries is on the rise, but the growing development potential of this so-called “South-South” investment is inhibited by political risks, according to a new report by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). Political risks are cited by South-based investors as a principal constraint to doing business in emerging markets. The MIGA review—“South-South FDI and Political Risk Insurance: Challenges and Opportunities”—looks at perceptions of political risk by companies based in emerging markets that are seeking to invest abroad, as well as challenges in mitigating those risks.  More

Africa at a Turning Point?  - This publication, which is subtitled “Growth, Aid, and External Shocks,” looks at interrelated aspects of Africa's recent economic revival. It examines Africa's recent growth in the context of its long history of growth accelerations and collapses and seeks to answer several questions. It deals with the continuing importance of donor flows for Africa, addressing such issues as managing and delivering greater aid, and the history and volatility of donor flows. As crude oil prices reach new highs, it also addresses the impact of commodity price shocks on output variability in African countries; how oil exporting countries can manage their new oil wealth; and the possible economic and distributional impacts of higher oil prices on oil importing countries.  More


World Water Day 2008 on Sanitation - The Day will be celebrated by the UN on Thursday, 20 March. The day will highlight issues on sanitation in accordance with the International Year of Sanitation 2008. People around the world are encouraged to celebrate the day to draw attention to the world’s sanitation challenge. Governments were invited to devote the Day, as appropriate in the national context, to concrete activities such as the promotion of public awareness through the publication and diffusion of documentaries and the organization of conferences, round tables, seminars and expositions related to the conservation and development of water resources.  More

The Newsletter is produced by the Civil Society Team of the World Bank (WB) in collaboration with other WB units. This newsletter highlights some of the many policies, programs, and initiatives of the WB which may involve or be of interest to CSOs. We welcome your comments and feedback to make this newsletter as useful as possible. You can subscribe to the Newsletter directly online: Please share your comments on the Newsletter with us: All past issues of the Newsletter can be found on the Civil Society Engagement website:



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